The Unexpected Reason Behind My Baby's Hysterical Crying

by Michelle Laliberte
Originally Published: 
baby won't stop crying

When you have a baby who has been diagnosed with colic, every time she cries you tend to suspect that it has to do with her stomach and nothing else. Well, such was the case with me. Every time my daughter would cry, I assumed I had eaten something that didn’t agree with her, except this time was different.

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I had narrowed the list of forbidden foods while breastfeeding to include coffee, chocolate, and citrus foods (and just in case, milk, wheat, and any spicy foods were avoided to ensure a calm baby). I had two full days of happy, peaceful bliss—no crying. My husband commented on how beautiful life had suddenly become with the cessation of crying. It seemed no sooner he said that than she started fussing again. This escalated into screams of pain. In fact, this continued for 48 hours, with 10 minute breaks in between. Unfortunately, it was the weekend, so I would have to wait until Monday to call the doctor.

I called the doctor first thing on Monday morning, and they scheduled an afternoon appointment (Oh God! I thought. It’s 9 a.m., and we haven’t slept but two hours and you’re making me wait until late afternoon?!) About lunchtime, my daughter finally settled down and fell asleep. For two whole hours before the appointment, she slept. Perfect. Now the doctor probably wouldn’t believe me. I’d be the mother who was just overreacting to her colicky baby—as I had done two times before this episode.

At the doctor’s office, my daughter was cooing up a storm. All the nurses were having a blast with my then calm, peaceful child. No one could believe there was anything wrong with this pleasant, smiley baby.

When the doctor examined her, he suspected she may have had a stomach virus which he said had likely passed. Once again, he gave me the old pep talk, “Oh, you’ll survive the colic. It’s almost over. Just hang in there.” As I held my daughter on my lap and listened to his words of advice, I stared blindly down at her feet, deaf to his words, and that’s when I saw something alarming—four toes on her left foot were reddish-purple and swollen. I immediately pointed this out to the doctor.

As he wiggled her toes, she began crying hysterically. The screams of pain I had become accustomed to for the last two days were back. As the doctor and I examined her feet, it became obvious that this was the problem. Amazingly, one of my long blonde hairs had entwined itself around the base of her four toes and the middle of her baby toe. It was so hard to see, but it was so tightly wound, it cut off circulation, causing the swelling and discoloration. It also dug into her skin, leaving a mark where the hair resided.

The doctor was able to cut the hair loose, but I was shocked by how such an insignificant thing, such as a stray hair, could cause such chaos in our baby’s life, not to mention our life. Fortunately, there was no permanent damage to my daughter’s toes, but there could have been if I hadn’t spotted it that day.

So, my advice to all parents of crying babies—even the colicky ones: always examine your child, literally from head to toe!

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